The Employees Retraining Board may widen its services from helping the less educated and less skilled to providing courses for white-collar workers. Its chairman, Michael Tien Puk-sun, said yesterday that the board would refer to the economic situation and changes in the job market when offering services. Fanny Pang, the board's deputy executive director, said despite the financial crisis there were still job openings in various sectors. 'We will offer what the market needs, as well as doing what we have been doing, to provide a lot of training and employment services,' Ms Pang said. 'I think the most important thing [for the unemployed] is to find a job first. And to find a job you have to add value to yourself.' More than 11,000 people applied for the board's retraining course in October, a surge of 30 per cent compared with August and September. The retraining proposal was made yesterday when the board launched its first recruitment fair at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai. Fifty-five companies took part in the two-day job fair and offered 3,000 jobs in sectors such as catering, retail, property management, as well as beauty and health care. The employers are targeting people with primary or secondary education. At the head of the queue outside the fair was a jobless woman who had been standing in line for two hours. 'I think it's still possible to find a job before the end of the year,' she said. 'However, it may be a lot more difficult after the Lunar New Year.' She said she used to work in the catering industry but had been unemployed for two months and was hoping to find a job in a hotel or a related industry. She expected the salary would be lower than her previous job amid the economic downturn.